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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Yemen bans 'false report' writer
Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh
President Saleh's son denied the story
A Yemeni court has banned a journalist from working for six months after he wrote an allegedly false story about an attempt to kill the president's son.

Saeed Thabet, a reporter for the London-based Quds Press, was also fined for publishing "a false report with the intent of spreading fear among people".

President Ali Abdallah Saleh's son, Ahmed, has denied that there was an attempt on his life, Reuters said.

Mr Thabet said the verdict against him was "unjust".

"No-one can stop me from exercising my rights or fulfilling my role as a journalist," he told French news agency AFP.

"For me, the verdict is the equivalent of a death sentence."

Denial

Mr Thabet was arrested in March, after he ran a report alleging the president's son - who is commander of Yemen's special forces - had been shot several times by a Yemeni officer in a military barracks in the capital, Sanaa, AFP reported.

The report was later denied, with Ahmed Ali Saleh appearing on state television to deny Mr Thabet's story, Reuters news agency reported.

The press freedom organisation, Reporters without Borders, had condemned Mr Thabet's detention as a "serious and unacceptable violation of press freedom".

Yemen has gained a reputation as a haven for Islamic militants following deadly attacks on a US warship and a French tanker in recent years.

The authorities have arrested several suspected al-Qaeda members and the US has provided equipment and anti-terror training for the Yemeni security forces.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Yemen
22 Jul 03  |  Country profiles
Yemen's new anti-terror strategy
16 Dec 03  |  Middle East
Timeline: Yemen
13 Dec 03  |  Country profiles


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